Contact Chickenpox and pregnancy

What are chickenpox and shingles? Chickenpox and shingles are infections that are caused by the varicella-zoster virus. When you have chickenpox, your immune system makes antibodies. Most people are immune to further infection after chickenpox during the rest of his life. About 1 person in 8 is not enough antibodies develop that first time and you can catch it again. The virus remains dormant in the body. It can, in some people, reappear later in life to cause a localized rash called shingles. Most people have chickenpox as a child. It comes in a small number of adults is not like a child. If you get chickenpox in adulthood, the disease is usually more severe than in children, and complications are more common, especially when you are pregnant. There are other separate leaflets called varicella in children under 12 years chickenpox in adults and adolescents and shingles that give details of these diseases. This booklet is intended primarily to pregnant women who have been in contact with someone with chickenpox or shingles. What does “contact with chickenpox or shingles” mean?

Chickenpox A person with chickenpox is highly contagious. The virus spreads through the air from person to person. For example, if you have not had chickenpox, it is a good opportunity to catch him if: You are in the room with someone with chickenpox for more than 15 minutes, or You have any face to face contact with someone with chickenpox, as a conversation. Contact Chickenpox and pregnancy. If you have had chickenpox in the past. Chickenpox is contagious from two days before the rash first appears until all the spots have crusted over (usually about five days after the onset of the rash). For example, if you talked to someone yesterday who developed the chickenpox rash today, you are at risk of developing chickenpox if you are not immune. Herpes Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It is contagious from the onset of the rash until all scabs have crusted over.

Unlike chickenpox, shingles is not a person with the virus coughs out. The virus is shed just the eruption. Most people with herpes have a rash on the chest or abdomen and usually is covered by clothing or bandages. Therefore, they are not likely to get chickenpox from someone with shingles if the rash is covered. Some people have herpes on exposed skin such as the face to be more infectious than if the rash is covered. In addition, someone who has herpes and have a weakened immune system (eg, chemotherapy someone who has shingles) virus sheds much more than normal. Even if your rash is covered, which they can be considered as infectious as someone with shingles uncovered. Therefore, it is difficult to give clear rules about contact with a person with shingles. If in doubt, talk about any contact with your doctor. I am pregnant and I have been in contact with chickenpox or shingles If you have had chickenpox in the past, it is likely to be immune. It is less likely to be at risk. You do not have to worry or do anything, but you may want to check with your doctor or midwife.


About 9 of every 10 pregnant women who have already had chickenpox as a child and are likely to be immune. If you have not had chickenpox or are unsure, consult a doctor urgently. A blood test may be advised to detect antibodies to see if you are immune. About 1 in 10 pregnant women who have not previously had chickenpox and is not immune. What is the blood? Controls blood test for antibodies against chickenpox virus: If you have antibodies in the blood, it means you have had chickenpox in the past, or have received the vaccine. It is then necessary to take additional measures. If you have no antibody then you are at risk of developing chickenpox. What I can do if I do not have the antibodies? They may be given an injection of immunoglobulin containing antibodies against chickenpox virus. This can prevent chickenpox developing, or is a more serious infection if it develops. It is best to have the immunoglobulin injection within four days of contact with the virus.

However, there may be some protection, even if it is given immunoglobulin to 10 days after contact with the virus. (It takes 7 to 21 days (usually 10 to 14 days) for varicella disease to develop after contact with an infected person. This is the incubation period. ) What are chickenpox and shingles? If you have not had chickenpox or are not sure. If you come into contact with chickenpox again later in your pregnancy, you can have a repeat dose of immunoglobulin whenever at least three weeks after the first dose. Why is it important to prevent chickenpox during pregnancy? For mother Chickenpox is usually a nasty disease while pregnant, even without complications. It tends to be much more serious than the children get the disease. In addition, about 1 in 10 pregnant women with chickenpox develop inflamed lungs (pneumonia). This is sometimes severe.

About 1 in every 100 pregnant women who develop varicella-related pneumonia dies from this serious infection. Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) is a rare but very serious complication. Vary rarely, other serious complications develop. For example: myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), appendicitis, hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), Henoch-Schonlein purpura (a condition that can affect kidneys), arthritis, and inflammation of various parts of the eye. For the unborn baby There is a small chance that the fetus a condition called fetal varicella (SVF) syndrome. This can cause the baby to be born with severe abnormalities. If you have chickenpox in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy it is not a 1 in 200 chance of the baby developing FVS. If you have chickenpox between 13 and 20 weeks of pregnancy it is not a 1 in 50 chance that the baby developing FVS. If you have chickenpox after 20 weeks, the risk of the baby developing FVS is very low, with no cases reported in women who developed chickenpox after 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you have chickenpox within seven days before or after birth, your newborn baby may develop a severe form of chickenpox. Some newborn babies who develop chickenpox die from the infection. What if chickenpox development while I’m pregnant?

Most pregnant women who have chickenpox recover completely and the baby is fine. However, as discussed above, the disease tends to be unpleasant and there is some risk of complications. In summary: Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect you have chickenpox during pregnancy or within seven days of giving birth. If you develop chickenpox, you (and your newborn) should be checked daily. You may need an evaluation of the hospital if you have lung disease, is a smoker, or are taking a treatment that affects the immune system (such as steroids). Consult a doctor immediately if you have: a severe skin rash, a rash bleeding problems chest / breathing, drowsiness, vomiting or bleeding. You may need hospital treatment. Antiviral drugs are an option for the treatment of chickenpox, but to be of benefit, should be initiated within 24 hours of the rash appears first. Not cure the disease, but tends to make it less severe. It can help prevent the development of complications in mother and baby (described above). It is likely that you mean a detailed ultrasound 16-20 weeks of pregnancy, or five weeks after the infection has cleared up if the infection was later in pregnancy. The aim of this is to look for signs of fetal varicella syndrome.

If you develop chickenpox within seven days before or after the birth of your baby, the baby can be given immunoglobulin treatment (described above). The aim is to prevent chickenpox developing baby. Avoid other pregnant women and newborns until all the spots have crusted over (usually 5-6 days after onset of the rash). Can I be vaccinated against chickenpox? There is an effective vaccine that protects against the virus that causes chickenpox. Immunization with this vaccine is offered to health workers (doctors, nurses, etc. ) who have not had chickenpox so they are not immune and can get chickenpox. If you are not sure if you have had chickenpox, a blood test can check if you have previously had. (About 1 in 10 adults who have not had chickenpox as a child. ) Workers not immune health should consider being immunized before becoming pregnant. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends varicella vaccination should be considered by all non-immune women before they become pregnant, or shortly after giving birth.